In addition to being a cosmetic issue, teeth that are crooked or misaligned can cause serious complications and long-term health problems if they are left untreated. Fortunately, there are solutions for both children and adults who are affected by crooked teeth. With treatment, patients can enjoy straight, healthy teeth and a more attractive smile.
Causes of Crooked Teeth
Crooked teeth may be caused by a variety of factors. Most commonly, the teeth become crooked during childhood as baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent, adult teeth. Because they grow in one by one and are affected by other teeth in the mouth, these permanent teeth are often crooked from the outset.
Another cause of crooked teeth in adults is tooth loss, which is usually linked to tooth decay. When a tooth is lost, the remaining teeth shift in an attempt to fill in the gap. In almost every case, these shifting teeth end up crooked. Less commonly, crooked teeth may be the result of other medical conditions, such as cleft palate or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Problems Associated with Crooked Teeth
Properly aligned teeth provide support for each other and for the entire mouth, making normal daily activities, such as eating and speaking, possible. Crooked teeth, however, do not provide sufficient support and can cause jaw and muscle strain, leaving the mouth vulnerable to injury. People who have crooked teeth may also suffer from tooth pain or sensitivity and may be at an increased risk for tooth decay and gingivitis.
Straightening Crooked Teeth
Orthodontics is the field of dentistry concerned with tooth alignment. A variety of orthodontic treatments for adults and children with crooked teeth are available to gradually move the teeth into proper alignment.
- Retainers: Some patients may be appropriate candidates for an orthodontic retainer. A retainer can be used to close caps and to maintain the results of orthodontic treatment.
- Braces are the most traditional orthodontic treatment option. Modern braces are constructed from materials that are more comfortable and less conspicuous than ever before, making them a viable alternative for almost anyone.
- Invisalign® system: Those who prefer an even more convenient and discreet treatment may choose the Invisalign® system of aligner trays. These clear plastic trays can be removed as needed, making eating and dental hygiene easier.
Patients with crooked teeth now have an alternative to lengthy orthodontic treatment. If crooked teeth are purely a cosmetic concern, many dentists offer porcelain veneers to cover crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers offer a smooth, even, and properly aligned appearance.
Schedule a Consultation with a Dentist in Your Area
If you are concerned with your crooked teeth or those of your child, a qualified dental professional can help you explore all available treatment options and choose the one that best meets your needs. It is important to treat crooked teeth before they cause more serious complications. Using DocShop’s national database of dentists, you can locate a dentist in your area and schedule a consultation at a time that is convenient for you.